April 23, 2017

A Letter to my Son: Why our Photo Album is full of Selfies.

There’s nothing more basic than a selfie.

You typically see the arm, can figure out who took the picture, and it’s generally deemed as “overrated” or “annoying”. A selfie, these days, is commonly seen as a form of vanity. It’s a new generation kind of normal.

As for you and me, it’s the most duplicated form in which our memories are captured. For me, it represents the bond we have, and that’s beautiful.

You see, being a single mom I don’t have that iconic bathtub photo that my husband took as you splashed water while I washed your hair. You don’t see the huge grin I don as I carry you on my hip looking back at the sunset over the orchard, apple wagon in tow.

You won’t find a photo of your first time sledding because I was holding you in my lap—arms wrapped around you tightly. The picture of us walking side by side toward the sunset on the beach as you saw the ocean for the first time will forever be in my heart, but never a photograph.

Those moments, usually so poetically captured from a distance, are not at a distance for us. They are up close and personal. They are called selfies, and we have tons.

I’ve seen those photos framed on the walls of my friends’ houses. I smile, I ache, I learn to appreciate them and still be grateful for ours. We’ve had those same moments, they just weren’t captured by someone else, because there is no someone else.

The unique bond we’ve created is the best side effect from that. It’s been me and you—traveling, exploring, creating, discovering, wondering, and dreaming our way through this extraordinary life. I wouldn’t change that for anything.

I’m grateful for those selfies, and the moments I get to squeeze in next to your face and capture yet another memory. I know soon you’ll grow up and maybe not want to stand that close to me, or prefer to be serious and not smile ear-to-ear like I’m so used to.

Perhaps, someday, there will be someone in our lives to take those photos, and we will add those captured from-a-distance-memories to our album of selfies.

So for now, I just want you to know, I’m grateful for those toothless grins—smashing into the side of my face in the front seat of my car, or the back of a bus, or a booth in a diner, or on a park slide, or even just the snuggles captured up close as you drift off to sleep.

I’m grateful we have an album full of selfies, that portrays our priceless bond like no other style of photograph can.

Memories are forever—no matter how they are captured.

They will last even longer in my mama heart.

Author:  Joy Reece
Image: Flickr
Editor: Lieselle Davidson

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Joy Reece